April 2016 Meeting
Voter Service Activities
Fall Voter Service Report
LWVPA registered over 100 voters, held three forums, and produced Voters Guides for seven contests. Over 1,500 voters visited our website, and the editor of The Princeton Packet paid tribute to our efforts. Click here to read full report.
VOTE411.org – LWVUS's Online Voter Guide
It was agreed that LWVPA will join LWVNJ in using VOTE411.org for our Voters Guides this November. New Jersey voters will now be able to find information about all their candidates in just one place. The responses of candidates running for President are already available at VOTE411. LWVNJ will create the Voters Guides for the Congressional Districts, while LWV-Princeton Area will continue to cover local municipal and school board contests. To make VOTE411 as comprehensive as it can be, more volunteers will be needed to work on Voters Guides. Training will be available at the May 7th workshops.
VOTE411.org was launched by the League of Women Voters of the United States Education Fund in October 2006. VOTE411.org is a "one-stop-shop" for election related information. It provides nonpartisan information to the public concerning the election process, including access to online voters guides. LWVNJ is buying into Vote411 for the November election and will create the voters guides for the Congressional Districts and, next year, for the Legislative District and Gubernatorial contests. The Princeton Area League will continue to be responsible for covering local municipal and school board contests and will work with other Leagues to cover county contests. The advantage of VOTE411 is that no matter whether Lawrence or Princeton covers Mercer County, that guide will be instantly available to any Mercer County voter. Guides can be downloaded for publication in print in case The Packet wants to carry them.
All 17-year-olds can now register to vote. Under previous rules 17-year-olds had to turn 18 by the next election to register, but this is no longer true. Leagues can start registering all 17-year-olds immediately. They will be entered in the statewide database as “pending” and will be allowed to vote when they turn 18. Members of LWV-Princeton Area will register at Princeton, South Brunswick, and Montgomery High Schools before the May 17th deadline.
Forums and Guides
The four Democratic candidates for two seats on Princeton Council will debate on Wednesday, May 11 at 7 PM at Witherspoon Hall in Princeton. Volunteers are needed for that forum and to create Voters Guides for contested primaries among Democrats running for Freeholder in Mercer and Somerset Counties. Please contact Chrystal Schivell to volunteer.
During the November, 2015 election, League members who were poll watchers noticed that some boardworkers in Princeton did not offer provisional ballots as required. LWVPA sent a letter to Paula Sollami-Covello, Mercer County Clerk, and to the four members of the Mercer County Board of Elections alerting them to the problem. Ms. Sollami-Covello replied that she was disappointed but was not responsible for training and that she had forwarded our letter and her response to the Mercer County Board of Elections. Click here to read the correspondence. The League has not heard from them. It is known that boardworkers who were trained before the November 2015 election will not be re-trained. It was agreed that LWVPA inform local papers about the problem and advise voters of their rights.
Ellen Kemp reports that, given that most members pay dues at the Annual Dinner, LWVPA is solvent. We have budgeted money to send one delegate to the LWVUS Convention in June
Reports from LWVNJ
May Fundraiser and Workshop
It was agreed that LWV-Princeton Area will buy a half-page ad in the program book for the May fundraiser, as we have in the past. The ad will honor our upcoming 85th anniversary, our members, for their contribution to our mission of serving voters, and Harriet Bryan, for her contributions to the League and to Princeton Community Housing. The ad also extends an invitation to our Annual Dinner.
LWVPA has agreed to support LWVNJ because it is doing the monitoring of the legislature, initiating studies, and giving other types of support. Three of our members serve on the state board, and it is at the state level that League activities, other than Voter Service, take place.
State Program Committees
Melissa Scott prepared an explanation of the role and and activities of the six statewide standing committees of LWVNJ. Members who wish to do more than local Voter Service are encouraged to join a committee by contacting Jesse Burns, LWVNJ Executive Director.
LWVUS June Convention
It was agreed that Sandy Smith will be our delegate to the LWVUS Convention. Anyone interested in attending as a non-voting delegate should register and contact Sandy or Ellen.
Note: A previous version indicated that we would have two official delegates. Due to our membership numbers (less than 50), we are entitled to just one delegate. (corrected June 3, 2016)
Dr. Elizabeth C. Matto will speak on the topic "Engaging Young People in Politics and Voting: An Upbeat Report" at the Annual Dinner. Members are encouraged to arrive promptly for the business meeting and then to relax and socialize over dinner and be inspired by Dr. Matto. We thank Ingrid Reed for finding our speaker. Members who know young people are urged to bring them to the dinner and to ask them to join the League. Please click here for more information.
Plans for 2016-17
We welcome to the Leadership Committee Patricia Casey, Voter Service team, and Jennifer Howard, Advocacy team. We thank Nancy Hall, Beverly Kestenis, and Melissa Scott, who are leaving the LC, for their contributions. A formal vote on the LC will be taken at the business meeting that precedes the Annual Dinner.
Three business meetings are planned for next year: each at 7 PM on the second Tuesday in the months of September, January, and April at the Suzanne Patterson Building in Princeton. Members are encouraged to suggest and implement other events, especially in collaboration with other organizations.